A University of Louisville scientist has found a way to prevent inflammation and bone loss surrounding the teeth by blocking a natural signaling pathway of the enzyme GSK3b, which plays an important role in directing the immune response.
The discovery of UofL School of Dentistry researcher David Scott, PhD,
and his team recently published on-line first in the journal Molecular
Medicine. The finding not only has implications in preventing
periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that causes tooth
loss, but also may have relevance to other chronic inflammatory
diseases. Since GSK3b is involved in multiple inflammatory signaling
pathways, it is associated with a number of diseases and also is being
tested by scientists for its impact in Alzheimer's disease, Type II
diabetes and some forms of cancer, to name a few.
"The traditional approach to dealing with periodontal disease is to
prevent plaque from forming at the gum-line or prevent the consequences
of periodontal disease progression," Scott said. "Our approach
manipulates a natural mechanism within our bodies to prevent
inflammation and subsequent degradation when exposed to the bacterium P.
GSK3b is known to facilitate the inflammation that occurs during
bacterial infections, so blocking this enzyme from completing its normal
function by using the GSK3-specific inhibitor, SB216763 stopped the
inflammation process and subsequent bone loss induced by the key
periodontal pathogen, P. gingivalis, Scott said.
The next step is for Scott and his team to determine whether SB216763
has any side-effects or whether they need to search for a different
inhibitor of GSK3b.
"Inhibition of GSK3 abolishes bacterial-induced periodontal bone loss in mice" (PDF), journal Molecular Medicine